Authorities say Shawn Gray, an attorney and lieutenant commander with the U.S. Coast Guard Judge Advocate General Corps, drove from his home in Miami to Sarasota recently to meet an 8-year-old girl he had met in a chat room.
But when Gray arrived in Sarasota County, to a house where he thought the child would be home alone, he was instead greeted by Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputies who arrested him.
“He had hoped to have sex with an 8-year-old girl,” Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight said of Gray, who was charged with use of a computer and traveling to seduce, solicit or entice a child to commit sex acts.
Gray is being charged with a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, said Chief Assistant State Attorney Ed Brodsky.
Gray was one of 31 nabbed in a six-day sting called Operation Intercept, an attempt to protect Manatee and Sarasota counties’ children from online predators, Knight said Monday during a news conference at the sheriff’s office in downtown Sarasota.